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Kitsap protestors join anti-trade parade

"Dale Hill was reeling with a sense of victory Tuesday night.The Garberville, Calif., resident stayed in Kitsap last week and ferried to Seattle daily to protest the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, a global trade group that tried desperately to conduct its four-day meeting.“It doesn’t just feel like a victory. Let’s mark the successes. We delayed their meetings for six hours. That’s a success. We postponed their opening ceremonies indefinitely. That’s a success,” Hill said.He was one of several dozen protesters who rode Kitsap ferries en route to adding thier voices to the estimated 50,000 protesters crowding the streets of Seattle Tuesday. The day started with peaceful civil disobedience and ended with riots and Seattle Mayor Paul Schell declaring a state of civil emergency downtown.A varied group of Kitsap residents ferried to the protests, from labor activists taking part in the peaceful and, by all accounts, well-run AFL-CIO labor march and rally to activists locking arms in a human chain around the Seattle-King County Convention Center.Mark Moshay, president of Planners and Estimators, Progressmen and Schedulers Local 6, was still reeling from the experience Wednesday morning.“It was the most awesome day of my life. I’m an emotional person but yesterday I was a basketcase,” Moshay said. He was one of two dozen Kitsap PEPS Local 6 members who braved the Seattle mayhem for the AFL-CIO labor march and rally.Moshay said he opposes the WTO because he is concerned about its enforcement power and policies. “More important is how it will affect our children and grandchildren. They will be far more impacted by this super government that can overrule member country’s governments – it’s the most frightening thing since Adolf Hitler rose to power.“I know that’s a strong statement, but a lot of people were convinced that what he was doing was a good thing and they allowed him to grow to be strong. (The WTO) is being controlled by people whose only motivation is to assemble wealth and when you get into that mode you don’t care about child labor or dumping asbestos into the air,” Moshay said.Moshay said he took care to avoid the melee erupting around the convention center between law enforcement and protesters.“I don’t support the violent acts that took place by the other groups in Seattle on Tuesday. However, it should be noted that many of these people feel powerless. That is the danger, once people feel powerless, anarchy and violence is not far behind. The current polices of the WTO carry that dangerous potential,” Moshay said.Bainbridge Islander Marco Simons echoed Moshay. “I’ve been working on issues of human rights and democracy in Burma for a number of years. One of the issues facing WTO is whether the state of Massachusetts” can keep its pledge not to do business with companies conducting business with the Burmese junta, he said.Human rights activists have criticized the Burmese State Peace and Development Council for its harsh forced labor policies and reported execution of rural farmers and indigenous people. Free trade proponents argue the Massachusetts moratoriam crimps, well, free trade.“That’s just one example of the way WTO undermines protections for human rights and the environment in favor of trade,” Simons said.Other Kitsap residents, like Bainbridge Islander Paul Gardner, went to Seattle more for the experience than for the politics. “I got gassed about four times,” he said, showing off emptied tear gas canisters he took for souvenirs."

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